Zachary DeWolf, Seattle Public Schools board member representing Central Seattle neighborhoods and former Capitol Hill Community Council president, has announced he will also join the race for Kshama Sawant’s seat on the Seattle City Council.
“I’ve been advocating for my neighborhoods for the past seven years and I think it is time we have a Council member who will also advocate for our neighborhoods and the critical needs of our neighbors,” DeWolf said in his announcement. “I want to continue to meet with people in every area of our district and hear what matters most to them. Those are the voices and memories that I will take to City Hall.”
DeWolf says he is the first openly gay person to be elected to Seattle’s school board.
BECOME A 'PAY WHAT YOU CAN' CHS SUBSCRIBER TODAY: Support local journalism dedicated to your neighborhood. SUBSCRIBE HERE. Join to become a subscriber at $1/$5/$10 a month to help CHS provide community news with NO PAYWALL. You can also sign up for a one-time annual payment.
DeWolf’s campaign is touting his “extensive history as a community leader, volunteer and elected official in the City of Seattle.” DeWolf currently works as a program manager for All Home King County, focused on youth and student homelessness, as well as diversion and prevention policies.
The Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce also has a candidate in the race after director and longtime LGBTQ and event organizer Egan Orion launched his campaign for District 3 earlier this month. “I’d love for there to be a queer voice on council again,” Orion said in his announcement.
The 2019 race will represent Sawant’s second defense of her seat on the council as an incumbent following her debut victory to join the body over incumbent Richard Conlin in 2013. With her tremendous name identification and a passionate following, Sawant represents a formidable opponent who has already stared down ethics threats over the influence of her Socialist Alternative political group.
“This year will be a referendum on one vital question: Who runs Seattle? Amazon and big business,” Sawant asked during her January campaign announcement. “or working people?”
Sawant has said she supports the “progressive” effort but will not participate in the city’s Democracy Voucher program because her campaign believes the fundraising limits that are part of the program will be too limiting in the face of the likely major spending on behalf of her opponents.
After already being part of some of the most expensive races in Seattle history, Sawant said she expects the pool of spending to oppose her to grow in 2019 after Amazon spent an “eye-popping $350,000 in 2017 to buy their mayor Jenny Durkan.”
He’ll face a bit of cach-up with the other competitors with a head start in the campaign like housing-first urbanist and small business owner Logan Bowers in what is likely to become a “million dollar” race to become the “top two” out of August’s primary and win November’s general election.
In a March interview with the school board member about the district’s priorities, CHS asked DeWolf about his interest in running in District 3.
“Here’s the thing: our schools and our students need a really strong, energetic young advocate like myself. I don’t want people to lose focus on our schools,” DeWolf said at the time. “I’m happy being over here, waving my hands in the air just trying to get my neighbors to pay attention to and care about our public schools. For now, I want to finish the job that I think is the most critical: bringing ethnic studies to our schools. If our district can do that, then we can celebrate and talk about those things.”
DeWolf now says he is starting the race with a big boost — endorsements from Seattle City Council members Lorena Gonzalez, and Teresa Mosqueda.
According to his announcement, DeWolf is a citizen of the Chippewa Cree Nation and was raised in Spokane. He now lives in the Central District with husband Derek DeWolf and “their 4 year old yellow lab Maya.”
DeWolf also has the distinction, we should note, of being the first D3 candidate with CHS bylines.
You can learn more at electdewolf.com.